Urban Areas: Chewing Gum

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the environmental, (2) the health, and (3) the visual, impacts of chewing gum being deposited in urban environments; and what steps they are taking to ensure that companies benefiting from its sale are contributing to the cleaning of such gum.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Government has made no specific assessment of the environmental, health and visual impacts of chewing gum being deposited in urban environments.

We believe that businesses should try to reduce the amount of litter their products generate. The Litter Strategy for England, published in 2017, sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of particularly problematic litter, including chewing gum.

Defra chairs the industry-funded Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG), which brings together the main chewing gum producer, Keep Britain Tidy, local government, the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, the Food and Drink Federation and the devolved administrations. The aim of the CGAG is to find and implement sustainable solutions to stop the irresponsible disposal of chewing gum and focus on changing individual behaviour in the long term. The CGAG has run annual behaviour-change campaigns for over ten years. We remain open to exploring other means of securing contributions from the industry to tackle gum litter.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery, a member of the CGAG, has produced a free to use gum littering toolkit. Local authorities, businesses, transport providers or any other organisation interested in reducing gum littering can access readymade campaigns for free. This toolkit was promoted as part of Defra’s ‘Respect the Outdoors’ campaign that was launched this summer. More information can be found at: https://tacklegumlittering.co.uk/.

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